Bookings open for Jeep Compass, likely price around Rs16 lakh

Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) India has opened bookings for its upcoming sports utility vehicle Jeep Compass.

The vehicle, which is being locally manufactured at the company's joint-venture facility with Tata Motors in Ranjangaon (near Pune), can be pre-booked at a down payment of Rs50,000, FCA India said in a statement. The entry price is expected to be around Rs15-16 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

"To harness the great demand for the Jeep Compass, we have executed a customer outreach across 21 cities at 26 shopping malls across India," FCA president and managing director Kevin Flynn said.

Customers will experience first-hand the level of sophistication in the vehicle. Those interested can book the SUV online or at any of FCA and Jeep Dealer network across India, he added.

The vehicle will be launched with both petrol and diesel engines mated to manual as well as automatic transmissions.

The Compass off-roader (1400cc petrol engine and 2,000cc diesel) will be followed up with the smaller SUV Renegade, which is likely to cost nearly Rs10 lakh, The Times of India reports.

The new models are part of Jeep's aggressive push into high-potential markets like India, Brazil, and China. The entry of the iconic Jeep brand is set to fire fresh competition in the fast-growing SUV segment.

The Pune plant is shared with Tata Motors, which has been Fiat's longstanding manufacturing partner in India.

Flynn said the company has made India a manufacturing hub for right-hand drive markets, which include South Africa, the UK and Australia. "It was a strategic decision to bring the Compass to India," Flynn told TOI.

The Compass, which has a length of 4,395 mm and has a maximum power of 170 BHP with the diesel engine, will come with manual and automatic transmissions, 4X4 versions, and likely have a price range between Rs15 lakh and Rs23 lakh. It will compete with models such as Hyundai's Creta and Tucson, VW's Tiguan, BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA.

"We have invested $280 million for Jeep at Ranjangaon," Flynn said. The company has started production of Compass and is beginning with a healthy localisation of nearly 65 per cent. "This is like the first chapter in a book, and it is important for us to get it right. The good thing for us is that we are now part of the global manufacturing team of Jeep and can pull resources from across the globe."

A relatively-small retail network remains as a key area for concern, The Times of India reported, a large part of which may be not prepared to tackle a huge sales rush or after-sales issues. Jeep rides on a poorly performing Fiat network in the country and will start with 50 dealers when sales begin in August. A very small percentage of this will be dedicated Jeep dealers, while the rest will be Fiat dealers doubling up as Jeep retailers.